Since it is almost that time already, I wanted to talk about fantasy football, particularly rookies. Every year people get overly excited about big name rookies and subsequently overdraft them. In standard, one season leagues, rookie players always end up getting over-valued and even in a basic keeper league where you keep 3 or 4 players, getting a star rookie isn’t a great idea, you want to get the best current players who are going to produce now because in fantasy football you need to win now. Now if you are in a Dynasty league where you will be building large, long term rosters, where you keep most of all of your players from season to season then you absolutely need rookies, and probably have a rookie draft. In that case this information is not directed towards you (though I will make some comments on it) and hopefully you are doing your own homework.
Lets start with Quarterbacks. First off, Cam Newton is the exception, not the rule. Rookies do not throw for 4000 yards and 21 touchdown and run for 700 and 14 touchdowns. That was a ridiculous season for any quarterback, much less a rookie.
Looking at least season, Andy Dalton, a 2nd round pick, threw for all but 3400 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had a great season for a rookie signal caller but from a fantasy perspective, he was well outside starting consideration in even 12 team leagues. In a league I ran last season, (slightly modified ESPN rules but fairly standard, nothing crazy) Dalton finished as the 17th ranked quarterback. He was a solid match-up play/bye week quarterback. Of the other 4 quarterbacks taken in the first 2 rounds of last seasons draft, not one of them was worth drafting. The season before, Sam Bradford had a stat line very similar to Dalton’s and this was from a #1 overall pick.
Over the last 5 seasons, there have been 60 quarterbacks drafted, or an average of 12 per season. Over that same period, only 13 rookie quarter backs have had more than 1000 passing yards and only 9 had more than 10 TD passes, with 4 of them coming last season. Only Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan have eclipsed the 3000 yard mark and the same group are the only ones to toss more than 15 TDs.
The average stat line of the 13 quarterbacks to break 1000 passing yards comes out to an ugly 2520 yards, 12.7 TD passes and 13.5 interceptions. To put that in perspective, Blaine Gabbert threw for 2214 yards, 12, and 11 last season, and finished as the 28th ranked quarterback in my league last season.
The moral of the story, a lot of you are going to be tempted to use a high pick on Andrew Luck or RGIII but at least take the time to stop and think about your decision. You are banking on getting Cam Newton production but the odds are stacked against you even getting a top 12 QB.